Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tiny Dancers

(click photo for detail)

“Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain”:

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

This is a short poem attributed to Li Bai, an 8th century Chinese poet, and expresses the Buddhist idea of impermanence perfectly. Just a reminder, zazen is a form of meditation where one just sits silently.


Attempting to say a few words about change in poetical form, I discovered that many have expressed such, in fewer better words and long in the past.

Fall is upon us and the winter chill will soon be here to cause the end of another season of growth and beauty in the natural world. I attempt to freeze the summer's flowers where no atmospheric changes can destroy them.

But the rebirth will happen; we will see them again in the next incarnation.

And it goes . . .


  1. A stunning photo Goatman - love those deep burgundy leaves...

    As well as the perfect idea of impermanence the last two lines, for me, also give a sense of attaining oneness with everything around you if one meditates deeply.
    This too is one of the meanings of the Christian version "Be still and know that I am God."
    It is in our stillness we find the meaning to the age-old question 'who am I?'
    In stillness where desire does not exist neither does the law of duality - all are one and everything simply 'is' neither becoming nor ebbing away.
    Thought-provoking post.

  2. what an image! lovely.
    in four lines so much has been said.. I'd love to lose myself in a mountain or perhaps in a sea someday..

    I am sure even flowers love blooming and so they wouldn't mind extinction of present birth .. :) that was such a sweet thought..

    We are on the threshold of winters too but our fall is relatively pleasant .. for us here it means a respite from the scathing heat..

  3. That photo is beautiful. Yes the Autumn is upon us. I just stood outside watching the swallows go by in great numbers on their journey to warmer countries. Amazing those birds.

  4. Such a sense of peace here! I love the title of your post...Tiny Dancers expresses your photo perfectly.

    I agree with Janice about attaining oneness with all after meditating deeply, and that's why just by reading the simple words in the poem I feel as if I have attained peace...

    A lovely, evocative post!

  5. One of the things that has me looking forward to Autumn is that the beaches will soon be deserted leaving me and my daughter to walk quietly along the shore.

    I swear I don't want to get all freaky religious but quiet times on the beach very often leave me feeling a higher power is present and so very much wants us to understand it.

    These rare times while I am able to shut out the world and "be still" the presence I feel goes beyond any enjoyment of solitude or relaxation but one where I actually feel an entity of some sort. I know how this sounds, and the skeptic would point out that its all in my head, but I just don't know.

  6. I totally agree and think I understand what Beach Bum has said in their comment. I feel the same can't explain's a real profound "spiritual essensce" that is very difficult to explain but easy to "feel"..that quiet "totally in the moment of silence" connected to something other than just this earth. Mother earth, father sky, the world and the Universe is what I always think about this special "feeling" I get.

    Lovely post lovely words lovely photo..I love fall..summer has been so hard on affects my health issues too much..cooler is better...yeah!

    Welcome to fall Goatman.



  7. beautiful words and photo.

    what is the dark red leaf and tri-petal flower? its very lovely

  8. Rhiannon, you truly got me and what I meant. I honestly feel with the beyond manic pace of life we have, especially in the united States, some sort of connection with something bigger than ourselves is lost.

    Many go through the motions, like some of the people around me who go to church for no other reason to be seen or be part of the social network, but have no real spiritual awareness.

  9. The photo is amazing and the quoted poem is all about IT, wow thanks.

  10. Lettuce,
    I think that the burgundy-leafed flower is called a Purple Heart or Purple Queen (tadescantia pallida) but that could be wrong. It was given to us by my mom --- we trimmed it back, and then it grew out and flowered.

  11. I am in LOVE with those flowers. They remind me of looking at the nighttime sky and seeing stars and other night sky things. It has a very sparkly sprinkly feel to it.

    I also enjoyed the poem. It reminds me of some haiku and poems I've read by dying Buddhist monks. I'll have to look for some of these to send you.

  12. Here's a link to a few of them. They're called "Japanese Death Poems". You can probably find a bunch more by using Google.

  13. i missed so much from here. :(

    such a lovely photo. i'm always mesmerized by shots like that. and the poem, thanks for sharing. i love being close to nature.

    great day for you goatman!

  14. simply beautifully captured shot....lovely!

  15. That is one of the loveliest poems I've read, lapsing straight into thoughtlessness, reading it.